History 3816G / Digital Humanities 3902G:

Introduction to Digital History

Tuesdays, 6pm

Room UC-222

Contact me

Devon Elliott


Office Hours: Tuesdays, 4:00 - 5:00pm, Lawson Hall Room 1208 or by appointment

Discovering: Search and Information Trapping


Discovering: Search and Information Trapping


  • Advanced Search
  • RSS Feeds and Feed Readers

The Visible Web

What is the the visible / searchable web?

  • Google
  • Web crawlers
  • Links
  • Metadata

How does Google Search work?

How Search Works


What is the Invisible / Deep Web?

  • Traditional web searches (Google, Yahoo, Bing) only get at a very small fraction of data available.
  • Estimates are that the Deep Web is hundreds of times larger than the web we know.
  • robots.txt

What is the Invisible / Deep Web?

  • Data that needs to be accessed by a search interface
  • Results of database queries
  • Subscription-only information and other password-protected data
  • Pages that are not linked to by any other page
  • Technically limited content, such as that requiring CAPTCHA technology
  • Text content that exists outside of conventional http:// or https:// protocols

We've worked with sites like these already:

Boolean Search

Make more defined searches using Boolean operators. This form of logic notation can help narrow your search and find more specific results.

More complex search strings generally result in fewer results, unless you are using OR exclusively.

Common forms are AND, OR, or NOT but might be shortened by substituting symbols -- " ", +, -, |, !, etc. In some cases, wildcards might be used, such as * or ~.


Deeper Web

Open Firefox, and add Deeper Web.


What is RSS?

  • Rich Site Summary
  • RDF Site Summary
  • Really Simple Syndication

Use your browser to be notified when new content is available.

Open FireFox and install the Sage RSS Reader.
Restart Firefox, and the Sage icon should be near your URL address bar. Click on it.

Go to H-net, choose lists you'd like to monitor, and drag the RSS icon into the Sage panel.

Google news has an Alerts feature where you can create customized searches and be notified when there is news on those search terms.

Other sites, like Amazon, have the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds of their new content -- try adding a new releases feed.

Essay Assignment

For next week, consider topics you might be interested in researching for your final project. Look for online sources related to your topic that you can use. We've covered some good examples, like the Internet Archive, in class, but try other sites as well. If you can't find sources on a topic, let me know, and I'll try to help.

While looking for sources, keep in mind some of the tools you've seen in the resources we've looked it -- you could get an idea of how you might use those sources in the context of this class.

Next week, we'll go over this project in more detail.

See you next Tuesday!

Have a great week!

Contact me at delliot8@uwo.ca or stop by Lawson Hall Room 1208 on Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00. I'm also available before and after class on Tuesdays, or by appointment.